Farewell but Not Goodbye

Feb. 2, 2021
Our friend and mentor Gale Johnson retires
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For loyal readers expecting to see Gale Johnson’s face and read his sage prose in this space as you’ve done for the past three decades, so were all of us at the Locksmith Ledger family. However, Gale decided to retire at the end of the year in December. Because our magazine is planed two months ahead of the actual calendar date, it’s the February issue in which we announce that Gale has stepped down as Editor-in-Chief after 32 years here at the Ledger.

I worked with Gale for 28 of those 32 years in various roles as publisher and editorial director of the Ledger. This is a bittersweet moment for all of us here at the Ledger, including Group Publisher Nancy Brokamp and managing editor Emily Pike, who worked alongside Gale for close to 20 years, and our newest senior editor, Will Christensen, whom Gale mentored this past year, who realize his retirement leaves a void we  never will fill.

Gale’s locksmith lineage is legit. His family is a fixture in the locksmith community in the Chicago area, establishing Evanston Lock Shop almost 100 years ago in 1927. Johnson’s Lock Shop has endured the past 75 years through four Johnson generations. Gale also worked for several lock manufacturers in the 1970s and ’80s, but his career path was altered forever when former Ledger Publisher Bill Reed solicited Gale to write a key machine article for Locksmith Ledger in 1987. As Gale’s retirement announcement tells it: “I never expected the result to become a thirty-year odyssey.  In April 1988, I became the editor of Locksmith Ledger.”

“There is no adequate way to detail all the great experiences gained throughout these three decades. I have had the opportunity to represent Locksmith Ledger in Ireland, Norway, Italy and Hawaii, with dozens of points in between. I have attended every ALOA convention and SHDA convention since 1988, except one. Frequent visits to local locksmith association conventions and LedgerWorlds provided many chances to tell the Locksmith Ledger story. Every moment was enjoyable,” Gale admits.

We plan to follow up with a much broader piece about Gale this summer. It will take some coaxing, because he never has been a man who sought the spotlight. Stay tuned.